Getting your student accommodation right is the first step in one of the most exciting and productive periods of your life. As a fresher, you’ll want to know how to find accommodation as quickly and efficiently as possible whilst being aware of how to avoid potential nightmare scenarios.
Here’s a handy little guide with some helpful links to help you get the strongest start to student living.
First, you’ll want to choose an area which suits your needs. Your accommodation ideally needs to be within a comfortable commute from your campus, with access to public transport links and essential amenities such as grocery shops, supermarkets and launderettes as well as libraries, the high street, restaurants and bars.
Unlike some other universities, BIMM doesn’t have halls of residence. But there’s plenty of help available for you to use when finding a place to live. To begin your search, you’ll most likely need to enlist the help of a letting agency or go down the route of a private landlord.
When selecting an agent, be sure to shop around. There could be many to choose from in the city you’re interested in. So, do some research!
Check their websites, socials and forums for testimonials and feedback and check their track record before parting with any cash.
Remember, if you do find a suitable property through an agency, you’ll also be subject to agency fees as well as having to provide a deposit (usually the equivalent of a month and a half’s rent), so be sure to take this into account.
BIMM has handy accommodation guides for each campus. Click the link for the city you’re interested in and happy house hunting!
Finding testimonials and track records for private landlords can be tricky. But most good landlords will be happy to provide honest answers to questions regarding their property. If a utility like a washing machine or shower looks unfit for purpose, mention it!
Depending on the size of the house/flat, you may also find that rent payments and fees tend to be lower than going through an agency.
Remember, a little common sense goes a long way when looking at properties. If the rent seems ridiculously low, be sure to ask what the catch is. Likewise, if a property seems overpriced, ask yourself whether you think it’s worth it. Once you’ve found a place you like, be sure to get any official agreements such as deposit/rent figures and length of term down in writing with signatures.
No one wants to live in a mouldy property. It can cost you money by spreading to your furniture/clothes/equipment and can be very damaging to your overall health.
If you find damp or mould anywhere on the interior of the property, mention it to your landlord/agent as soon as possible and don’t let go of the issue until they sort it!
Managing the Bills
We get it. Utility bills and council tax (if applicable) are just about the most boring thing you’ll have to take care of in your student digs. Yet, failure to sort out important elements such as this early-on in your tenancy can lead to real problems further down the line.
If you’re the one who takes responsibility for bills by putting them in your name, be wary of any flaky housemates leaving you to shoulder the burden by yourself. You’d be amazed the lengths some people will go to avoid paying their fair share of bills!
Most communal money problems can be avoided by setting up direct debits each month and keeping on top of the bills to avoid them piling up.
The temptation to go out and ‘make it rain’ once your student loan comes though can be huge! Be warned though, losing track of your finances can have dire consequences.
So, do yourself a favour. Once that sweet, sweet student loan comes through, work out a monthly budget for food, drink, bills, clothes, household goods, equipment and expendable funds and then (most importantly) stick to it!
There are some amazing apps and services out there designed specifically to save you money! Get yourself an NUS card to take advantage of student discounts and check out this list of super useful links for a bit of money-saving inspiration.
Toogoodtogo.co.uk – A great money saving app that gives you serious discounts on delicious food!
Plum – Monitors your spending and automatically sets money aside for you.
PayFriendz – This lil baby takes all the stress out of splitting the restaurant bill between friends.
MySupermarket – Find the best prices for every item on your groceries list across multiple stockists.
MusicMagpie – Turn your unwanted CD’s, DVD’s, books and games into cold, hard cash!
Parkopedia – If you’re lucky enough to drive your own car whilst being a student, then this app will save you a packet by locating free parking wherever you are!
Whether you’re lucky enough to be moving in with friends or you’re living with a bunch of strangers, it’s important to remember that your housemates play a pivotal role in your overall student experience. They have the power to make your home life a living nightmare or an absolute pleasure.
Stick to this short list of ground-rules and your relationships with housemates are guaranteed to flourish.
1. Respect each other.
Treat your housemates the way you’d like to be treated. Simple! This includes everything from respecting their personal space, not eating their food and not being unreasonable with shared spaces.
We all come from different backgrounds, right? Some of us may have been encouraged to clean up after ourselves whilst growing up, whilst others may have been a little more…pampered.
Either way, a good technique to avoid squabbling over things like washing up/cleaning is to call a house meeting early on to discuss how best to approach the subject as housemates.
Remember, most of you will be living away from home for the first time. And for some, this can be quite a stressful experience. Be sensitive to the fact that some people may require a little extra help/guidance on this transition to independence.
4. Go out and party!
The fact is there’s a good chance you’ll be making friends for life with the people you share a house with at this stage. So, go and make the most of it!
Get out there and make some unforgettable memories. And above all, enjoy yourselves.
Lastly, you’ll find it much easier to meet potential housemates by posting on our official campus-specific BIMM Facebook groups, which are mentioned in our accommodation guide. Click the appropriate link for your campus and happy networking!